Northern backing for Big Tent

By Simon Rocker, September 22, 2011
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Manchester Jewish Representative Council has formally declared support for the Big Tent for Israel advocacy conference due to take place in the city at the end of November.

MJRC president Lucille Cohen said the council had voted 14 to 1, with two abstentions, to back the event, whose main organiser is Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag of Whitefield Hebrew Congregation. "If they ask us to publicise it in any way, we will be happy to," Mrs Cohen said.

The question of Reform participation in the event had previously been raised privately with Rabbi Guttentag by a member of the Rep Council. Mrs Cohen said: "In effect, it is Orthodox-run. If the conference is under Orthodox auspices it has the prerogative as to which rabbis to invite. We support Orthodox initiatives and we support Reform initiatives. We would not tell an Orthodox organisation how it should run its activities."

There had been suggestions that the event might run under the "We Believe in Israel" banner - the name of the solidarity conference staged by Bicom in London in May.

‘Bicom would not allow certain speakers’

"We feel that we know the community in the north and how it needed to be pitched," Mrs Cohen declared. "Bicom wanted to run it in a certain way and not allow certain speakers."

Bicom ran a briefing meeting in Manchester last week.

    Last updated: 2:50pm, September 22 2011